April 08, 2011
Regardless of where you look in Louisiana, you'll find some great angling prospects. But this calendar offers some of the best for this year.
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Regardless of where you are in Louisiana, the there is good fishing nearby. But some places are simply better than others, depending on the time of year. Some of the following suggestions are personal favorite times and places for specific species, while others have been generally popular for many years. Still, you can bet that they are all good!
Crappie - Bayou D'Arbonne Lake
This mid-winter deep-water opportunity is often best in the channels of the bayous that created the lake. That's where the fish typically suspended below 15 feet. Spider-rigging style trolling along the drop-offs with tube jigs, or tight-lining sunken brush piles and submerged stumps with jigs or shiners are both proven techniques.
Look for groups of boats to give you a clue about the general areas to fish, then use your depth recorder to home in on sac-au-lait.
Access to the lake is easily gained by ramps on the service road just west of State Route 33 in mid-lake, north of SR 2 west of Farmerville, or near the spillway.
The Deep Lake oil-field canals in the Rockefeller National Wildlife Refuge, south of SR 82 and just east of Grand Chenier, can provide some fine redfish action even on the coldest days. Work shrimp-tipped jigs or spinnerbaits along the banks of the canal dead-ends.
Big mid-winter action with crappie can come from little Bundick Lake, southeast of De Ridder. Locate the small winding creek channels of at least 20 feet deep, and either spider-rig or vertically jig them, normally at a depth below 18 feet.
Crappie - Larto Lake
Larto Lake is northeast of Marksville and has been producing quality catches of winter crappie for decades. This is deep-water structure fishing, with the channels around the main lake, the island, and even up to Shad Lake being favorites locations.
Drifting with shiners or spider rigging with jigs are good options, but all the while scrutinize the depth recorder for submerged stumps, brush-tops, or artificial fish attractors. Those are the productive locations.
This area is remote, so a multi-day trip is a worthwhile consideration. Contact Uncle Bud's Cabins and RV Park on the lake at (318) 339-7530 for reservations, as well as up-to-date news on the bite.
Northwestern Louisiana's sprawling Caddo Lake can produce fine pre-spawn action for largemouth bass this month.
Flip plastics or jigs to the edges of the small, thick brakes or large single trees in 3 to 6 feet of water.
The pits alongside SR 1 between Leeville and Grand Isle can give up quality seatrout, as well as good numbers of them now.
Work jigs deep and slowly from either the road's shoulder or from a paddle-craft.
Yellowfin Tuna - Venice
This month trolling trembler-style lures like over-sized Rat-L-Traps or using Rapalas around the deep-water oil and gas platforms or the "Midnight Lump" off the Mississippi River Delta can lead to all the action you can stand with tuna. Two of these wiggler action lures flat-lined and another one set deep on a downrigger make a good spread.
While many of these prize fish are taken each winter from private boats, a more consistently productive option might be a charter trip. Contact the Venice Marina at (985) 534-9357 for a list of offshore charter captains.
Debris along the old and new bridges across eastern Lake Pontchartrain produces numerous and quality seatrout in late winter and early spring. Work large jigs deep in the water column.
Poverty Point Lake near Rayville has produced some eye opening crappie in recent winters.
Shiners and tube jigs worked around deep structure is the key to catching them early, though they can move shallow as the month progresses.
Spotted Bass - Scenic Rivers
"Creek-fishing" can be outstanding this month across much of the state's upland areas, with the best waters being listed in the Natural and Scenic Rivers System. While some of them are best fished by floating in a paddle craft or small johnboat, on others wading is the best option.
At this time small surface lures and size No. 6 fly rod popping bugs are effective when worked tight against the shaded banks.
To locate a scenic river near you, go to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Web site, click on Experiencing Wildlife, and scroll down to Scenic Rivers. Next scroll down and click on Destinations.
Try one this spring -- they are indeed scenic as well as productive.
The surf along the remnant bars and troughs of the southern Chandeleur Islands still produces quality catches of bigger-than-average seatrout during April.
Target clear, rising water and prospect with purple cocahoes (Gulf killifish).
Lacassine Pool is an April hotspot that can give up the bass of a lifetime, as well as quality skillet material.
Fish weedless plastic baits in the weeds for those "hawgs." Smaller surface lures are effective on other largemouths along the edges of the canals.
Seatrout - Calcasieu Lake
While surface lures worked blindly across the reefs within these proven waters can produce a speckled trout for the wall, locating a combination of shrimp and feeding gulls can lead to wide-open action with smaller fish. Keep your eyes open and your ears in tune for the raucous melees. Get to the action quickly -- but don't crash other anglers' party doing so!
Some of the better spots to encounter feeding birds are Long Point, Nine-mile Cut, and the water west of Rabbit Island.
Prospect the shorelines and shallow oyster beds of Mud Lake with spinnerbaits for some surprisingly big redfish. On calm, low-tide mornings try a surface lure for some real excitement!
The deep water out from the boat launch on Cypress Bayou Reservoir, just to the east of Benton, gives up some good-sized crappie during the warm months.
Locate sunken brush or other structure and work them with shiners.
Cobia - West Bay
Louisiana's "lemonfish" gang up in the mid-reaches of West Delta during summer, and the most exciting action often takes place along the rips that are found there, particularly those that have collected flotsam.
Idle along one of these fish-magnets during periods of good visibility, looking closely for fish on both sides of it. When you come across one use a medium-heavy outfit to flip a Queen cocahoe in its face. Then hang on and enjoy the ride! Contact the Venice Marina at (985) 534-9357 for updates on the action and information on charter trips.
Caney Lake once produced outsized Florida-strain largemouths, but recently has been giving up numbers of ridiculously big redear sunfish! Target hard bottom with grass in about 4 feet of water. Live baits work best.
Wade-fishing the Grand Isle surf near the passes and in areas with rocks can produce seatrout this month. Use surface lures on calm, clear-water mornings and plastic baits in off-colored water.
Redfish - Southwest Pass
The jetties at Southwest Pass could be the best spot on the entire Gulf Coast for redfish. Smaller reds can be found virtually anywhere along the outsides of the rocks, while the last 1/2 mile or so of the east jetty is best for bulls.
Cast large soft-plastics on medium-heavy gear to the edge of the rocks and to any fish marked on the depth recorder for consistent results. Always be ready for schools of fish cruising along the surface or following a hooked red to the top.
Shreveport's Cross Lake continues to be one of the best producers of channel catfish in the state. Drift-fish the open waters of the lake with cut shad near bottom for the best of this action.
Oyster Bay is a remote but productive seashore cut at the southeast corner of Four League Bay. It's also unbeatable for flounder on a falling tide. Drift with the current along the edges of the exposed oysters and cast small spoons or jigs into the nearby shallow water.
Bull Reds - Grand Isle
The passes near Grand Isle that lead from Barataria Bay to the Gulf of Mexico are time-honored for giving up bull redfish during late summer. To the east, Four Bayous and Coup Abel offer excellent night fishing for the brawny battlers, too.
Fresh mullet heads worked on a fish finder rig near the drop-offs into the channels are effective.
The flat between Caminada Pass -- which lies immediately west of the island -- and Elmer's Island offer good sight fishing for the bulls on a clear rising tide.
Try large jigs or 1/2-ounce Johnson Sprite spoons.
Largemouths bass gang up on schools of juvenile shad this month in Caddo Lake, providing some fine "jump" fishing. Stay alert for this surface action, and feed them a Tiny Torpedo or a 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap.
Try chumming for the gray snappers that are present around the platforms in the mid-reaches of West Delta. Toss a handful of thumb-sized pieces of pogies at a corner leg, bait up with another piece, and drop it into the ensuing melee.
Cobia - West Delta
As summer winds down, the action with cobia in the mid-reaches of West Delta picks up. Clear water is now often found within three miles of the mouth of Tiger Pass, and any structure within it could hold these fish.
Try queen cocahoes on 1/2-ounce jigheads along the rips and 6-inch curly-tails on 1-ounce jigs around the single caisson-supported oil and gas wells found here. Be ready for a real brute!
Look for root beer colored water flowing from small bayous into larger ones in the Atchafalaya Basin for fast action with sac-a-lait. Blue and white mini-tubes worked 2 feet beneath a float are a good combination.
During autumn the state's scenic rivers see little angling pressure, but the fishing their spotted bass can be memorable.
Flounder - Mississippi Delta
The waters within the lower Mississippi River Delta can produce outstanding action for flounder during autumn. Areas near the Gulf of Mexico with either tidal-induced flow or river current are best. The two spillways on the west bank of Southwest Pass are particularly noteworthy.
In the deeper waters, bump bottom with purple jigs or live cocahoes on a fish finder rig for good results. In shallower cuts try a 1/4-ounce gold spoon.
As low tides and cooling water become more frequent, reds move into the shallows to feed at in Lake Mechant near Dulac. Sight fishing for them around the grass shorelines can be exceptional now.
Gulls and seatrout team up to create merry mayhem on the shrimp in Calcasieu Lake before the crustaceans head offshore. Look for these feeding frenzies to occur over the reefs throughout the lake.
King Mackerel - Southwest Pass
Along the outside of the east jetty, kingfish often exceeding 30 pounds and occasionally topping 40 are patrolling. These fish strike virtually any natural or artificial lure that they encounter.
Proven techniques are casting queen cocahoes, while working the jetty with the trolling motor or trolling Magnum Rapalas about 50 feet off the rocks.
This is a time and place offering fly fishermen a chance to tangle with these big fish as well.
The upstream reaches of the Mississippi River passes near Venice can hold seatrout in amazing numbers now. This is deepwater jig fishing. Once you find the fish the action can be red hot!
Flounder stage in large numbers near the coast in preparation for their offshore spawning run. Target them on the falling tide in cuts and bayous leading out to the Gulf.
Crappie - Toledo Bend Reservoir
As the water continues to cool, action with crappie heats up in the larger lakes across the northern half of the state. Toledo Bend can be the premier venue for slabs at this time.
For the best action use your depth recorder to mark channel drop-offs or sunken brush piles. You can prospect by trolling a spider-rig around these or anchor over them and drop jigs or shiners down the structure.
Late fall in
to early winter Lake Decade is prime time for seatrout. This inland lake just south of Houma will have the specks scattered throughout it. Drift fish while prospecting with a jig under a regular of popping cork.
At times seatrout fishing can be fantastic in the lakes within the city limits of Lake Charles. Watch for diving gulls along the drop-offs of the ship channel.